June 30, 2013 – Work in Progress

It’s a Sunday and is another great day to just sit back, relax and do nothing – Lazy Sundays.

I took a step back from my daily routine and yet found myself thinking about what I heard the other day from watching CNBC Meets.  The episode was about Mr. Andre Agassi.


These were the particular lines that I had to reflect about :

There’s no “there, there.”  There’s only a promise to be there.  With education comes hope, and with hope comes choice.  

When asked upon about his relationship with his father, his reply was :

Over time, it’s about understanding your parents.

When asked about his achievements, his reply was:

Everything is a work in progress.  My pride is not when something is done but as it unfolds.  It’s a tortured soul inside of me that tells me to keep pushing, keep pushing. 


I kept on thinking about that line – a work in progress as well as being a tortured soul.

You see, I never thought much about that line until now.  Why do we call it work in progress?  Why do we not call it “unfinished business” or why don’t we call it “working from regress”?  I suppose human beings in general are always optimistic.  We are always bullish about ourselves, even in the midst of setbacks.  We call ourselves “I’m a work in progress” to say that we will eventually work on becoming successful.  We never talk about our errors (perhaps this is also why Daniel Kahneman, nobel prize laureate and  pioneer of behavioral economics and finance) talks a lot about overconfidence biases and anchoring biases.

Watch also this great interview of him from Motley Fool’s Morgan Housel about his latest book “Thinking Fast and Slow”: http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2013/06/28/an-interview-with-dr-daniel-kahneman.aspx

Everything is a work in progress.  

You see, there are a lot of times when I’m really sad.  People probably don’t think I do but I actually do.  In a way,  hearing Andre Agassi talk about being a tortured soul comforted me that I am in a way not alone.  Like him, I have problems and I just try to “mature” enough in to understanding that I can’t solve problems.  I can probably just try to understand things.

And in some ways, we all have to tell ourselves that we are works in progress.  When we try to keep ourselves more fit and yet succumb to those potato chips and beer, we end up sadder and the stress makes us order more McSpicy and fries only making us more flabby and uncomfortable.  We cannot be too hard on ourselves.  We need to step back, find some footing and realize that there are many “trainwrecks”, “beautiful messes” in us and just keep on pushing and pushing.

Unusual People Do Things Differently

TGC Prasad wrote this and it’s a very useful quote whenever one’s sad about his or her own life:

“Unusual people are ordinary people who strive hard to do extraordinary things.  They are sensitive to nuances, look to provide lateral solutions, dare to think out of the box, and often end up changing the rules of the game.”

The key thing to learn about the experiences of many individuals in all broad professional spectrums is that everyone who is still here never said “there, there”.  They just promised to “be there” and are always there.

When You Hit a Wall

“When you hit a wall, you’re going to get tired,” Agassi said. “And when you do, you need to control what you can and find a way to let go of what you can’t.”

Agassi applied this mentality to students at the College, urging them to push through despite whatever they may think is holding them down.

“You all sit in a rare seat. Your discipline, perfectionism, courage, you’ve shown these things for many years and that’s why you’re here. My hope for you is when you feel overwhelmed, allow yourself to be a work in progress,” Agassi said.

Read more here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/selina-wang/lessons-from-andre-agassi_b_3473131.html


It wasn’t about me achieving anything, it was about me wanting a journey and embracing it, whatever the ups and downs were,” Agassi said.

The Next Stage

Looking forward, Agassi said that every experience leads you to the next step in life.

“The next stage is most important,” Agassi said. “Trust yourself. You have the tools to take a step closer to your goals. Think about what you want to do and enjoy that, the good and the bad.”


Other Good Reminders:

1.) Make time for a meaningful conversation to let someone know that they are understood in a challenging time.

2.) “Become a perfectionist about not being a perfectionist.

Instead of wasting away in an endless pursuit for success, Agassi decided to forget about achieving anything.

How can forgetting to strive for success lead to success? Because people who only pursue success are running an endless race. Before, Agassi only focused on reaching the finish line. When he finally got there — exhausted from the chase — he was unfulfilled.

In order to re-build himself — inside and out — he focused on small daily goals instead of constantly demanding himself to be at an impossible state of perfection. Some days he would set athletic goals for himself, other days his goal would be just to show up; some days he would fail, others he would succeed. Arduously but with great success, he made it to the top again.

3.) Life never gets easier.

I personally know what it feels like to underachieve and come in last because I had slipped to an embarrassing low at one point in my career. My ranking was the tennis equivalent of being the state that comes in 50th. I knew I had to take ownership of my choices. And I learned a great lesson falling so low. It actually can become a dramatic moment for change.  Being last in the country in education may sound hopeless, but I know it is a ripe opportunity to seize the situation, be bold, and re prioritize. And I know first-hand that you make big news on the way up when you turn things around.

– Faceless Trader


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